Upgrade to Microsoft Office 365 on Mac - for Employees

If you were directed to this page by a popup message referencing "MacOffice365Push" on your college-owned Mac, you are in the right place to learn more! 

Microsoft Office has shifted to a model of ongoing smaller updates, rather than saving them all up for a big version upgrade (like 2011 to 2016). In order to have access to all new features, campus Macs need to 1) upgrade to the latest Office and 2) start using the "365 license" (which is tied to the employee user's account) rather than the "volume license" (which we have used in the past). If this Mac is shared by many employee users, and/or is used by students such as workstudy employees, please see the special note below.

Please perform this upgrade while connected to the campus network (wired or wireless); it will work remotely via VPN if necessary. Allow about half an hour for the upgrade to complete; like all upgrades, it's best to avoid making the change right before a major deadline.

  1. Close all Microsoft Office apps (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Teams).
  2. Open the Self Service app that is in your Applications folder. (If you have the popup notice on screen, you can click "Do It Now" to launch Self Service.)
  3. Find Microsoft Office and click Install.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the upgrade.
  5. You will know the upgrade is done when the "Executing..." message is replaced briefly with "Done" and then with "Reinstall". When the installation is complete, the new programs will be found in the Applications folder.
  6. The first time you launch one of the updated apps, you will be prompted to log in to Microsoft using your Davidson credentials. This validates your license.
  7. If for some reason Office does not prompt you to log in, you may instead see a yellow bar at the top of your document window stating that your email address does not allow editing. Click the "use another account" button and log in again to resolve this message.

Special Note for Shared or Student-Use Macs

Each campus user is entitled to activate Office on up to five computers at once. If you try to exceed five, you will have to deactivate one to make more room. Most employees use one or two computers on a regular basis, so this is not an issue. However, students may use dozens of computers (their personally-owned computer, lab and classroom systems, those related to campus employment, etc.). For Macs used by students (workstudy, research labs, etc.) or many employees (shared kiosk, conference room, etc.), we recommend continuing to use the computer-tied volume license rather than user-tied 365 licensing.

  • Volume licensed copies of Office for Mac will get some new features later than 365-licensed copies, or sometimes they will not get the new feature at all.
  • Volume licensed copies of Office for Mac will eventually get "stuck" at their current revision level (Office 2016, Office 2019, etc.) and will need to have an upgrade initiated manually to get to the next version. 365-licensed copies will be continually upgraded.
  • This distinction between volume licenses and 365 licenses is Mac specific. Windows licenses have a separate mechanism which does not affect shared or student-use computers in the same way.
  • To convert a Mac's Office 365 installation (with 365 license) into an Office 2019 installation (with volume license), look for Convert MS Office to Volume License under the Maintenance section in Self Service.


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